The Room of Oog part 2

So it’s been a while so I’ll do a quick recap…My name’s Cece, I’m Tom’s girlfriend and on the first floor of the building is something really crazy. It’s a room that actually says “Oog” on it’s door. Seriously. Look.

I saw it for ages and then one day, while doing laundry (right next door) I found a key behind a machine that said “Oog”, put two and two together and ended up on the other side of the door. It went from boring as it was a storage thing to very interesting as it lead to another unlocked door, a hallway and this suite that’s actually under the building. The suite looks like somewhere Austin Powers would have lived with a slight purple tinge, lava lamps and autographed photos on every wall.

Seriously, it’s like a thrift floor exploded in here. Where I left last time, I was sitting on a white leather sofa and Bengal tiger rug, near the old TV and a floating white crystal ball.

The TV looks like it was from 1963 but on the table, no kidding was a big and even a little heavy remote control. I aimed it at the TV and hit power. On it’s antique TV stand I watched it spring to life on what looked like a program guide.

Some were in English but lots weren’t with a little flag next to the number, and there were just hundreds of them. I flipped through them, down and down and down until I just gave up and hit one, admittedly that wasn’t English but I didn’t recognize any shows anyways. I just wanted to see if it worked I guess. I still felt like the owner was gonna interrupt me, but seriously, besides the power being on and the weird crystal ball in the coffee table spinning slowly and undulating white steam, it looked empty for years. Oh yeah and the place was spotless for what it was. Only clued into that recently.

What I saw looked like a sitcom. It was three mid twenties girls and three mid twenties boys who were getting ready for an evening. The language from the tv was strange, but then from the crystal ball I heard it.

“Come on Petro, you should pick one too,” said a tall fellow to his two friends as they walked around what looked like a video store and corner store rolled into one.

“I don’t watch videos. Who rents videos? Do we even have a DVD player?”

“I can use my laptop and a cable-thing. Seriously, this is like the most popular vintage store in Odessa and Nadiya wanted to do this.”

“Oh…so this is about Nadiya,” chimed in the third curly haired guy.

There was a ripple of laughter on a laugh track.

“Vanda…what?”

“You know. Nadiya… Videos,. I’m with you Anton ” Vanda smiled.

“That’s great Vanda. Guys it’s my first dateish thing. And I need a video that is cool, but doesn’t lead to no conversation. So…ok, here…Eat Pray Love.”

“No, too obvious, how about…the shades of grey thing” said Petro.

“Obvious and possibly awkward,” Vanda.

“That’s his style,” Petro quipped.

“Hey!”

Then it was over to girls, where they were getting food and back at the apartment…

“Wonder how the boys are doing?” Said who I learned was Liliya.

“I told them maybe 7 pm here. So it should be a while yet,” said Nadiya.

This went on for sometime, like a show does and it got pretty good until finally we got to a scene where Nadiya and Anton were on the balcony and it was just driving me crazy. Anton was sure that Nadiya actually like someone totally different, not even at the party and Nadiya thought he was trying to let her down easy but neither was sure because they knew that the other was a nice person and it’s so easy to mistake that for thinking the other was cute.

And after years of Ross and Rachel I just couldn’t take it…

“Oh, you like each other! Just kiss you weirdos!”

I hadn’t even noticed that when I began with the “Oh” the white smoke from the ball had filled the room. I was no longer sitting on a white leather couch with a Bengal tiger rug. No I was on a porch in Odessa, Ukraine. Not even a sound stage like I was in their filming the show. Nope, this chick was in the logic of the show “Forth Floor”, standing in front of Anton and Nadiya, who both looked at me stunned.

“Hello? Are you a friend of Alina’s?” asked Nadiya.

“No, you must be Vanda’s girlfriend. He said you were from…well…where are you from?”

“I’m Native, but…not to here…anyways…it doesn’t matter..” I gave up on asking them how I got there. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t know either “You guys do like each other. And you should totally kiss. I just realized I’m probably speaking Ukrainian right now. That’s so crazy. I’m gonna leave you both to it. But definitely kiss, definitely…”. I walked off the porch, past four other stunned people who I just smiled and waved to and then out the door.

I went down the hall and turned the corner and that’s when things went Misty.

I was staring at the vintage TV again, white smoke dissapating into the coffee table around the crystal ball. I looked up to see that Anton and Nadiya had just kissed.

I sat there with my mouth open.

Well that was interesting.

To be continued.

The Ollie and Emma Multicultural Comedy Webseries Release Date!

We are so excited to finally announce August 26th 2016 as the debut for Ollie and Emma – The Webseries. This has been such a huge endeavor and its still not over! Tom and Cheri would like to thank all our loyal Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers…keep liking and share with your friends!! Ollie and […]

via Ollie and Emma Release Date! —

The Ollie and Emma first look!

Please check out the first Ollie and Emma webseries trailer!  So excited to begin sharing this story I have been working on with Cheri Jacobs for over two years now.

The story to me is all about starting a conversation across divides, something that has to happen for everyone’s sake.  This can happen when we are inclusive, and everyone can join the fun.
So click below and enjoy!  Look for our show on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and WordPress to find out about this upcoming release!

Ollie and Emma YouTube trailer

Government Street, 1910

 

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                Janice was the last person Samuel ever expected that afternoon. Outside the drowsy city moved on, the street cars, carriages and passersby oblivious to the moment she emerged into his store barely upsetting the chiming of the bell Samuel had nailed into the frame.

                There was nothing to prepare him for the moment.  That Thursday in mid September the morning sun glinted off the bottles on the west side of the room like they always did when he arrived to unlock the dispensery.  Sun poured across the street between the buildings on Government street.  The younger clerk arrived in a rush under the slight scowl of Samuel’s gaze, the key his was given lost somewhere in his coat pockets.  Samuel waited for a moment, looking over the rim of his steel frames as the man outside continued to fumble, his movements jerky and his face occasionally looking up to stare contrite at the older man in the white coat behind the black cash register.  Finally, pushing the latch to open the low swinging gate he came to the young man’s rescue, with the boy in the long coat and felt riding hat looking regretfully at the older face on the other side of the pristine, clear glass.

                “Eight thirty, Joshua,” the older man said simply as he opened the door.

                “I’m sorry sir, I mean…it’s not an excuse but the tram left early…I tried to run after it but…”

                “Well, at least you’re here,” he said as they both went back behind the counter surrounded by vials and bottles, the disinfecting alchohol in the large teardrop shaped glass and the wall of pestal and mortars.  The room smelled only slightly of lavender and the disinfectant that was used to clean everything in the white walled dispensary that sat near the corner of Broughton between the café and the grocery.

                The young man scurried into the back quickly as Samuel continued to go over the notes he made the day before on Mrs. Wensten’s prescription for anti-fungal cream and her Humalog diabetic insulin supplements.  He kept all his notes in perfect order, his handwriting as clean and clear as the Colonist’s printing press, with every necessary note organized within the confines of the single black leather book.  The book remained in the same place of his low front shelf, it’s corner’s frayed and smooth like the skin of a well worn leather shoe.

                Samuel had just finishing entering the journal notes when he realized they were getting closer to opening time.  Exactly fifteen and half minutes away by the pocket watch which never left his favorite red waistcoat, the watch a gift from a friend of the St. Andrew’s and Caledonia Society which he met with on Wednesdays like so many others who had come from Scotland or, like in his case, had parents from the old country. 

                Soon, Joshua emerged from the back of the dispensery in his white coat, doing the regular cleaning that was his job first thing each morning, only the young man was trying to do the same cleaning at twice the pace, quickly rushing over the furthest corner with the store’s straw broom.

                “Slow down there!” Samuel said firmly with his eyes never leaving the black book and his smaller notes ledger beside where he wrote down the specific notes for that day.

                “I’m sorry Sir, it’s just…we open in just over ten minutes and I was late.  That’s my fault.”

                “I’m very aware of the time, Joshua.  You can continue to clean after opening hours just this once.  I can’t afford for anything to be damaged,” he explained.

                “Yes, Sir.”

                “Now, can you please open the front door and clean our exterior walk?  Mrs Amberson will be by early this morning to pick up her supply for the St. Joseph’s dispensary.  I’ve already laid out the packages on this back table with the documentation.  I hate to keep the lady waiting.”

                “Hallie Amberson!”  He replied suddenly with a desire to straighten his coat and tie, pushing his hair back, looking at the mirror that hung over the topical creams on the south wall “She is beautiful, isn’t she?”

                “None of that, if you please,” Samuel said to the smirk of Joshua.

                Soon the young nurse from the Fairfield hospital arrived to the smiles of Joshua who continued to sweep door the outside walk.  Samuel felt back the urge to roll his eyes at him as the young man then came in to gather all the parcels for her to put in the large case that she had brought.  She smiled back at him and he just stood there for a moment, mooning like a cat.

                “Now you can sweep the back of the store, Joshua.”

                The young man managed one more smile at the young lady before going to fetch his broom.  Samuel could swear the young man was one step away from being better off as a coal miner like his brothers.  It seemed if he wasn’t prattling on about this or that he was talking about his new accommodation over by the bird houses. 

                Samuel could only just remember those younger days in his life when he was still studying under Mr. Hainsbury.  He now owned a small house down Moss Street which was perfectly situated near the Foul Bay streetcar line.  Each morning he woke quite early in the quiet when the sun had not yet risen, having his breakfast in the front room that was shaded during the day by the two arbutus trees he had planted himself out front.  After his morning routine was finished he would head out early, paper under his arm to the corner of Moss and May where he would meet Scott Cook driving the first street car run of the morning, a fellow member of the Scottish society and a recent arrival from Aberdeen.  The red and white sided car would click and clack its way along the smooth rails towards Cook Street and the park before turning it’s way towards the heart of town.

                Lunch was the small café just next door run by Annie and Nathanial Humphries, which had been a family business since the earliest days of Victoria.  She was always happy to see Samuel and frequently insisted that she could offer him a discount for her famous coffee and sandwiches that always comprised his meal.  This was due to Samuel looking into a diagnoses that he found didn’t square correctly with what she had been diagnosed before.  Samuel had actually visited and discussed with the physician so the prescription was changed to medication that took her relentless migraine headaches away.  Samuel appreciated the offer of the discount each time she brought it up, but respectfully declined, not out of a dismissal of charity (which he also did not approve of) but due to the fact that it was his job to do exactly that and that he would stop practicing the moment he ever cut corners.

                Back in his shop, with Joshua over by the other side of the room cleaning the tables where the recent shipment had just arrived by train, the door chimed softly.

                That was the moment when Samuel’s eyes went wide.  He felt something inside his chest that he had not felt since he was the same age as the young man across the room.  He set his pen down and walked slowly to the front of the counter as the two people entered, their presence in the room raising Joshua’s eyebrows as well.  They rarely ever saw people from the Songhees inside their dispensary.

                Behind Janice, whose brown eyes fixed on Samuel, stood her large framed brother, George Andrews Jr.  She was dressed in a shawl and he was dressed in the clothes of a labourer.  Samuel pushed his glasses back slightly.

                “Good Afternoon…George…Janice,” he said trying to steady his voice.  He could only hope that his voice didn’t sound wrong.  Beneath the cotton white coat, waist coat and shirt, his heart thudded hard.

                “Samuel,” George replied, with Janice just looking at him before averting her gaze to look around the room.

                “Um…what can I do for you both?”

                “Janice?” George asked his sister.

                “Yes…sorry,” she said before looking at Samuel sorrowfully and then looking down into the pockets of her shawl and finding a written paper.  She walked up to the counter and Samuel swallowed slightly as she came close, her shawl brushing the other side of the white wooden counter.  She handed him the prescription, Samuel looking down at her soft slight brown hands covering the doctor’s scribbles.  He looked up at her and then back to the paper which he took.  Coughing, he studied the paper.

                “I can…” he said before coughing again “set up an account for you with us, if you want so we can track…”

                “That won’t be necessary,” George said firmly.

                Joshua came over the side of his employer, looking at him with his head slightly tilted to one side.

                “Can I get you something, Sir?”

                Samuel just looked at the notes on the paper, his head focused on returning to his work immediately.  People came to him because he was a professional.  In truth, he was considered the best pharmacist in the finest run dispensary on the south island, but he always refused to accept this notion.

                “It’s…it’s a prescription for Miss Janice Lynn Andrews for the following medication,” he said beginning to write a note for Joshua to follow in his usual precise handwriting so their could not, would not be a mistake.  One was an expectorant…one 250 mg of Azithromycin…another special tropical cream that was less commonly used but otherwise benign.  At least, he thought for a moment, it was nothing really bad.  Most of these were for simple ailments.

                “These are for yourself?”  he asked.

                “Yes,” she answered.

                He cleared his throat and with his hand slightly shaking he wrote the note and passed it to Joshua who rushed off with a small bag to fill for her. 

                “How much this gonna be?” George asked, his voice firm.

                “Shouldn’t be too much.  These are fairly common medications and from what I understand the physician you met set a one-week trial dosage.  If anything feels wrong, stop taking them immediately, but they should clear up things within one week,” he explained consulting the pricing book next to the register and entering the numbers. 

                She handed him the forty-two cents it cost for the bag of medication that Joshua produced.  He fingers brushed his only slightly when she gave it to him which set a rush of fire through Samuel, something he felt in his legs so strong, he had to keep one hand flat on the counter.  For a moment, all for of them stayed put like they were posing for a photograph.

                “Come along, Janice.”

                “Goodbye, Sam,” Janice said with her eyes locked on him.  The rest of the world seemed to stop.  The rest of the world seemed quiet.

                “Take care,” Samuel replied.  He could not move.

                “Come along, Janice!” George said more firmly.  It was firmly enough for Joshua to look at the taller Native man with concern.

                As they left, the younger clerk looked at his employer who seemed dazed, staring out the door as they left.

                “You alright, Sir?”

                “Yes, perfectly fine.  Let’s get back to work.”

West Coast Love Affair

Check out this amazing blog by Anishanaabe, First Nations artist and fellow WordPress blogger! Cool shots of my own hometown Victoria, B.C. 😊

Shanley Spence

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Traveled up to the West Coast of Canada a few times and can never get enough the breathtaking scenery of oceans and mountains and vast landscapes. I tend to go a little picture crazy. I figured many of you would appreciate these select few, they are some of my favorite shots that I captured while I was there. I have many more from where they came from so just comment below if you’d like to see more.

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She’s from the Rez! An interview! Whoa!

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I’m sitting in Cook Street Village with a girl who you may have seen popping up on my different social media sites.  Her name is Cece (Cecelia) Sawyer and she is not only my sweety but she is also the in house consultant when Cheri and I are working on bits for our character Mandy, as a cultural consultant and she has been our photographer, extra, and more assistant on everything we do.  She is not only First Nations but she is born and raised on a reservation, namely the Scianew Beecher Bay Reservation near Metchosin, British Columbia.

Q. So, Cece, what was it like growing up on the Rez in Beecher Bay?

A. It was beautiful.  I lived with my grandparents for most of it.  I remember learning my manners and being polite.  I also learned a lot about Native traditions.

Q. How long were you there?

A. I was there all my life, until I was about twenty two I think.  My grandparents looked after me and my cousins.  I remember going to the First Nations church.  That was me and my grandparents and my mom.

Q. What kind of church was that?  Christian or Native, or a mix

A. It was Christian, praying to the same God.  Everybody thinks its not but it is.  I remember my mom using shaker bells and everyone singing Native Songs, in our language.  I remember shaking each others going around before we would leave.  Everyone in the church had to wear all white.  Some of the songs were healing songs.  That was cool

Q. What was in the Rez besides obviously homes.

A. Dogs!  Just kidding.  There is the Longhouse which I also call a smokehouse there.  They do ceremonies.  It’s called a smokehouse because of traditional fires used during ceremonies like funerals.  My uncle use to own a corner store there.  If you wanted to go off the reserve you had to get someone to take us because there was no bus service.

Q Is there a shuttle now?

A. No.  I’ve heard people to talk about it at the Treaty Conference at Ocean Point.  Once and a while you get to go to these.

Q. Is there anything else you remember?

A. Lots of Chief elections.  There was some partying back then.  I’m glad it’s not as much like nowadays.  I like going out to my Uncle’s for Thanksgiving.  He has a beautiful home that he built right on the Pacific Ocean.  The rez is now called Spirit Bay and it’s definitely changing for the better.

My problem with cultural appropriation.

One of our rules in the Ollie and Emma project is that we leave the issue aside and just have fun with the opportunity to bring people together.  That aside I think their should be some ground rules.  Being the white half of a comedy team writing a multicultural project knowing where the line between funny and too far is only too apparent.  It all comes down to simply respecting someone else and looking past the stereotypes which need to be finally dropped.
The problem I have with Halloween headdresses, sport teams names and so on is that it treats Native culture like it’s something of the past.  We call the University of Victoria sports teams the Vikes (Vikings).  We don’t call them the UVic Norwegians.  There is another team I’m sure is called the Pilgrims (I will admit…I’m not especially a sports person.  Apologies to those who are.).  The folks who are referred to as Braves are still very much alive and active as well as the use of real ceremonial garments (and unless your entire sports team is First Nations, which would have the name make more sense).  The best way to think of this is consider something that is important or sacred to yourself and ask yourself if you would want it used like a gimmick.  Yeah, First Nations people don’t love that either.

This is one of the things about working with my cowriter Cheri Jacobs that I think has it’s own influence on the Ollie and Emma project.  Our two cultures can work together with common respect and have lots of fun doing it.  All the people who I have met have been very welcoming and free of judgement. 

Community is possible.

Cheers,
Tom

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Mid December Madness!

Hey everyone!  Been a really busy week and right now I am up ridiculously early (got up at 3:30)…doing things that sort of qualify as work, but yeah it’s mostly puttering.  I can sleep later.  I’ll get to it.  More coffee!

This time of year is not only the gift buying but so many projects are going full tilt.  When I’m not working Cheri and I writing the first season of Ollie and Emma, getting ready for promo shoots and then of course you fit in being a returning student at Uvic which is in those exam things and the band http://www.Cookeilidh.com is getting geared up for Chrismas, including a show at the Mary Winspear center that I am totally stoked about being that I grew up on the Peninsula!

Here’s a recent photo from the Ollie and Emma shoots before I just go off on a tangent about defining “growing up on a peninsula”.  Yeah, that’s probably for the best…

http://ollieandemma.wordpress.com

 

Cast shoot for Ollie and Emma at Cinevic

Cast shoot for Ollie and Emma at Cinevic